The Raptors 905 ended a 39-11 season by winning the D-League championship, capping off a phenomenal run for the second year franchise. Throughout the season, the 905 saw two players (Axel Toupane twice, and Edy Tavares) get called up, and also dealt with a key injury to Will Sheehey. But that never stopped them as, in Coach of the Year Jerry Stackhouse’s words, it was always next man up.
Here’s a review of the 905’s roster, with letter grades for how their season shook out.
Bruno Caboclo: Grade B+
Bruno spent another year in the D-League rather than the NBA, and the time may be running out on making a big league impact. Still, throughout the season Bruno showed how good of a defensive player he was becoming, and continued to work on his offensive game and overall consistency. It was an up and down season, but after looking at it as a whole, Bruno and the Raptors should be happy with his performance. In 34 games, Caboclo averaged 9.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks while shooting 41.2% from the field and 33.1% from three.
Brady Heslip: Grade A-
The Burlington, Ontario native was a natural shooting guard, but with a need at point, made the switched and never looked back. Throughout the season Heslip’s play-making ability improved as he took the reins of the team’s offense. And of course, Brady’s excellent shooting came exactly as advertised. He finished the season averaging 16.1 points and 2.9 assists in 48 games, while shooting 44.5% from the field and 41.8% from three. He really was the best shooter not in the NBA, and was a little surprising he never got a call up.
John Jordan: Grade B
Jordan simply did everything that was asked of him this year, especially in the playoffs. He didn’t always light up the stat sheet, but he would make others around him better, and hit the open shots that were there for him. Jordan was also one of the better defenders on the 905, the primary reason he tended to start over Heslip in the playoffs. In the end, Jordan played in 40 games while averaging 5.8 points, 3.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game.
C.J. Leslie: Grade B+
Leslie was productive but inconsistent this season for the 905. For a week or two you would think he is on the verge of an NBA call-up. Then next week or so you’d be looking to see if he even played. When he was on, it was hard to find a better player on the court than Leslie. He’s a versatile player who really bought into Stackhouse’s system of defense. Leslie really worked on his shooting, and throughout the season knocked down more and more 3-point shots. Leslie played in 45 games while averaging 11.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 54.3% from the field.
Yanick Moreira: Grade B
Moreira was unknown to start the season, even after training camp with the Raptors. Moreira was the starting centre for the first couple games before the 905 claimed Edy Tavares. When Moreira saw the court, he was a defensive force who blocked shots and grabbed rebounds. And, on the offensive end he would chip in with a few points. Moreira played in 48 games averaging 8.1 points and 6.2 rebounds.
Goodluck Okonoboh: Grade C-
Unfortunately for Okonoboh, he was behind Tavares and Moreira and rarely saw the court. In 50 regular season games he only played in seven, the rest saw him inactive or getting the DNP-CD. His grade improves a little for his post-season play. After Tavares was called up Okonoboh got his first starts in the playoffs and really helped out on the defensive end, limiting the opposing teams centre on the glass. Okonoboh ended up averaging 2.0 points and 2.0 rebounds. Look for Goodluck’s role to grow next season if he returns to the 905.
Will Sheehey: Grade B+
Sheehey was a huge bright spot on the 905 this season, a year that unfortunately ended after his dislocated his elbow. Sheehey helped out more on the offensive end of the game, as throughout the season his shot started to drop more and more. Sheehey as well started to look more comfortable in Stackhouse’s system. Sheehey ended up averaging 10.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in 38 appearances.
E.J. Singler: Grade A-
Singler, who is Stackhouse’s favourite player, did everything for the 905. Even when his shot wasn’t dropping he helped out on the defensive end, and was a leader on and off the court. Singler is a bit of a D-League veteran, and really was one of the anchors that lead to the best defense in the D-League. Singler played in 48 games while averaging 8.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
Edy Tavares: Grade A
Tavares was a huge reason for the 905’s success this season. After being cut by the Hawks, Tavares was claimed by the 905 off waivers. With that Stackhouse now had a new starting centre and a rim protector. Tavares came in to block shots, left, right and centre, which he did well enough to earn himself D-League Defensive Player of the Year and a call-up to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Tavares played in 48 games for the 905 while averaging 10.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. Unfortunately for Tavares, he recently broke his hand in a Cavalier practice.
Axel Toupane: Grade A+
The 905’s MVP who was so good he earned two separate NBA call-ups — one quick 10-day with the Bucks, and then a contract with the New Orleans Pelicans after a 41 point playoff performance. Toupane was the best offensive and defensive player on the 905, as he would often guard the best player or point guard on opposing teams. On the offensive end, Toupane worked on his jump shot, and became a solid facilitator. In the end, Toupane played in 36 games, while averaging 16.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
Christian Watford: Grade C
Watford came over in the Jarrod Uthoff trade and in 19 games was more of a depth piece. Watford was the backup power forward when Pascal Siakam wasn’t with the team. Watford did however come in and add more depth to the already stacked 905 roster and chipped in with a few points when he saw the court. Watford played in 19 games with the 905 and averaged 4.5 points and 3.2 rebounds.
Negus Webster-Chan: Grade C
The local tryout player out of Scarborough got some starts but never really showed enough to stick. When the 905 were healthy, Webster-Chan was regularly one of the two inactives. Webster-Chan did improve a lot of the course of the season, and if he comes back should get a big role next year. He played in 23 games averaging 3.0 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
Antwaine Wiggins: Grade B
Easily the most improved player on the 905. At the beginning of the season, Wiggins didn’t see the court a lot. Wiggins was known for his defense but when his offense started to come along, he slowly started to get more and more minutes and even a few starts. He played in 39 games while averaging 8.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.
The Raptors 905 team grade is an easy A+ as it was an honour to cover these players throughout the season, and see them win the championship. Now, on to next year!